Identity Theft

Kate, Erin, Bec

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a type of fraud which involves stealing money or gaining other benefits by pretending to be someone else. Having your identity stolen can be both financially and emotionally devastating.

Identity theft can occur in many ways—from somebody using your credit card details illegally to make purchases to having your entire identity assumed by another person to open bank accounts, take out loans and conducting illegal business under your name.

When people use the internet they leave a digital footprint comprised of their personal information which hackers and organised crime trace and use for their own purposes. In Australia, 499,500 people were the subject of ID fraud over a 12month period.

44% of Australian victims did not know how their information was stolen

Development of Identity Theft

In the days before the internet identity theft was still around and still a problem with people 'dumpster diving' for discarded personal information- generally credit card details. In those times Identity fraud was more difficult to commit and people were not as likely to get away with. The internet, with its massive growth and incorporation into everyday life has connected people but also made their details more vulnerable and we see crimes such as stolen credit card details, TFN's and general information for nefarious uses being a more and more rampant problem. Scams through email and over phony websites gathering information, hackers breaching a site that is not secure enough, malware and trojan spyware (viruses that record details of computer uses disguised as free software). Should a person discover they have been a victim of ID theft police need to be involved immediately and one of the most difficult part bringing a culprit to justice is discerning what has truly been stolen and proving you are in fact a victim.

*Graph shows how personal detail were obtained

Sharing Information: A Day in Your Life

How to protect yourself

Protect yourself

  • NEVER send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
  • If you receive a call from your bank or any other organisation, don’t provide your personal details—instead ask for their name and a contact number. Check with the organisation in question before calling back. NEVER rely on a number provided in an email or click on the provided link—instead find the contact number through an internet search or check the back of your ATM card.
  • If you receive a request from a friend or family member stranded while on holiday asking you to transfer money to them, contact them by phone or alternative contact to verify the request is genuine before sending any money or providing personal details.
  • Regularly check your credit card and/or bank statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected.
  • Shred all documents containing personal information, such as credit card applications and bank statements.
  • Log directly onto websites you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
  • Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer or request is genuine.
Why Care About Identity Theft?